The ANC Youth League has condemned what it terms the use of state resources to settle political scores, in reference to charges brought against its former president Julius Malema.
"We were shocked by these developments as the warrant was timely executed to coincide with a long weekend,” the ANCYL said in a statement on Tuesday (25/09/2012).
"This, in our view, was meant to ensure that he spends the whole weekend in jail.” It also condemned leaks to the media regarding the arrest and a report prepared by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
"Such lack of restraint and conniving was meant to feed further into the court of public opinion that is in session in the media,” it said.
South Africa’s legal system upheld the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
However, what had recently happened was not in line with this principle.
"The fact that even some ministers intimated knowledge of the charges points to political interference in the administration of justice and it must be condemned,” the ANCYL said.
State institutions should not be used to settle political scores.
The ANCYL trusted that the criminal justice system would carry out its work with integrity and credibility.
It had to be freed from political interference.
"All South Africans are called upon to defend the Constitution and the principle as contained in the Constitution that every individual is innocent until proven guilty.” Malema’s lawyer said on Sunday a date and venue for his court appearance had not been confirmed.
"We have not received confirmation from authorities on a date or venue,” said Malema’s lawyer Nicqui Galaktiou.
City Press reported that Malema was to appear in the Polokwane Regional Court on Wednesday on fraud and money laundering charges.
The Sunday Times said he would appear with five other people and four companies.
However, Galaktiou said that "even though the media has been publishing all this information”, his camp did not even know what charges Malema might face.
"We do not have charges,” she said.
An arrest warrant was issued for Malema on Friday.
City Press reported that Malema faced charges of money laundering, corruption and fraud relating to his Ratanang Family Trust and its shareholding in On-Point Engineering, a company which allegedly made millions from Limpopo government tenders.
On Sunday, National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Bulelwa Makeke refused to comment on a possible court appearance.
"Until he appears in court, then we can talk about it,” she said.
Also on Sunday, City Press reported that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela had found that Malema made his millions from a fraudulent tender.
Although Madonsela could not find evidence that Malema interfered in the tender process, she found that his Ratanang Family Trust benefited "improperly”, the newspaper reported.
This was according to a copy of Madonsela’s provisional report into the R52 million tender won by On-Point Engineers from the Limpopo roads and transport department.
Malema’s family trust was one of the two shareholders in On-Point.
The newspaper also reported, in another article, that the SA Revenue Service (Sars) had obtained a R16m judgment against Malema for unpaid taxes.
Sars spokesman Adrian Lackay confirmed that the judgment was obtained in the High Court in Pretoria on September 11.
He told the newspaper the amount included unpaid taxes, penalties and interest. - Sapa